The Miami Heat scored a second straight victory by dispatching the lowly Washington Wizards on the road, 110-102, on Friday night at the Capital One Arena.
It wasn’t the prettiest triumph for Miami but given they’ve only recently bounced back from a recent 7-game losing skid, the victory is an encouraging sign ahead of a tough upcoming matchup against the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday in Miami.
Jimmy Butler was the brightest spot for a Heat team that played the first half similar to how they were performing during the losing spree. The 34-year-old vet finished with 24 points on 70% shooting and 9 boards, but it was his aggressive play in the game-deciding third quarter that sparked the Heat’s run.
Jimmy’s been taking over lately & tonight was no different. pic.twitter.com/pAM5NvAti8
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 3, 2024
Miami outscored Washington 31-15 after the halftime break, which included a 17-3 spurt highlighting their 2-3 zone defense, ability to get to the foul line, and timely shooting from the likes of Tyler Herro and Josh Richardson.
Herro registered 15 points on an ineffective 6-of-19 shooting display while Richardson was limited to 7 markers off the bench following his 24-point output in the latest win against Sacramento. Bam Adebayo, who was just named an All-Star for the third time in his career, registered 20 points and 14 rebounds on 8-of-14 shooting, but also had 4 turnovers.
Kevin Love was solid with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds off the bench while Terry Rozier continues to struggle with his shot since being dealt to the Heat, making just 2-of-13 against the Wizards. He did have another solid playmaking evening, finishing with 8 dimes and 0 turnovers while going 11-of-11 from the foul stripe.
The Wizards momentarily made it competitive in the final minutes of the contest thanks in large part to a season-best performance out of Cory Kispert, who notched 26 points off the bench on 10-of-16 shooting, including 6-of-14 from deep.
Jordan Poole had the chance to cut the Heat lead to 3 with 31 seconds to go but split his visit to the charity stripe. Rozier was then able to pick-up a foul on Kyle Kuzma after a Heat time-out and sealed the contest at the stripe. Poole had 16 points and 10 dimes for the Wizards but shot just 6-of-21 overall.
Miami’s offense was problematic for large stretches. They shot just 43% from the field and 7-of-31 from long range. Against the Wizards that likely still leads to a win but against playoff-caliber opponents, it’s the formula for a defeat.
The Heat’s shot diet focused once again in the midrange. According to Cleaning The Glass’ data, Butler and company had 39% of their attempts come from the middy (31% accuracy), 29% from beyond the 3-point line (20% accuracy), and just 29% at the rim (91% accuracy).
The Heat’s record improved to 26-23.